There we were, November 22, 1963

Right about this time on that day 50 years ago,  the nuns at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic School in Lake Charles, LA, headed by  Sr. Maria Petra, principal, shepherded us children from the school building across the playground area to the main church and ordered us to pray.

I was a young black school child, and I was a Catholic. When sister gave us the news we all began to cry , not because of our politics (we were too young to have such), but because of the dual connection to the man who was our president.  mamaeditNot only was he regarded in our community as someone sympathetic, he also shared our faith and religion.  On an even more personal level, though at the time I didn't have full appreciation, he was the first president my mother voted for.

Now he was gone.  Amid our tears we did what born Catholics upon the death of a dear one are taught to do as soon as we reach age 7, about the point that reason kicks in. We prayed for the repose of President John F. Kennedy's soul.

Never forgot the tears and praying.  Little more than 50 little black faces, as I recall, trembling voices reciting The Our Father, the Hail Mary, signing and ending with: "May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed, rest in peace.  Amen."